Local, Int’l Human Rights Groups Condemn New Israeli Racial Law
Saturday, August 02 2003 @ 11:06 PM GMT
 

"'The Israeli Knesset (parliament) on Thursday voted for a bill, which
prevents Palestinians married to 'Arab-Israelis' from obtaining Israeli
citizenship .."
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - Local and international human rights groups have
condemned a new Israeli law denying citizenship to Palestinians married
to Israelis as “racist.”

The Israeli Knesset (parliament) on Thursday voted for a bill, which
prevents Palestinians married to “Arab-Israelis” from obtaining Israeli
citizenship.

A total of 53 deputies voted for the measure and 25 against. There was
one abstention in the vote, which was held on the last day before the
parliament goes into a summer recess, a spokesman said Thursday.

"This is a racist law that decides who can live here according to racist
criteria," said Yael Stein from the Israeli rights group B'tselem.

Earlier two international rights groups, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty
International, sent letters to the parliament protesting the law and
urging lawmakers not to pass it, a statement from Human Rights Watch
said.

Opposition and Arab MPs also have condemned the measure as racist and
discriminatory.

Left-wing MP Zeeva Galon said that the "shameful and unjust" measure
would soil the parliament's reputation.

"It is a racist law which is contrary to human rights," she said.

Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, considered a liberal within the
governing coalition, showed unease.

"I would have preferred such a text was not needed, but there are
security considerations we must take into account," he said.

The estimated 1.1 million Arab Israelis in the Jewish state are
Palestinians who stayed on when Israel was established in 1948.

Source:  Palestine Media Center - PMC - http://www.palestine-pmc.com/